Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children.
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ST. CLOUD -- How 'bout those Frogs? Bird Island, the No. 3 seed out of Region 11C, ousted St. Patrick, the champs of 3C, by a 6-4 score on Sunday afternoon in the second round of the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Tournament. The Bullfrogs lashed 13 hits at Putz Field. The biggest blows were a three-run homer by Tyler Hebrink in the first inning and a two-run double by Elliot Serbus in the third. The win went to draftee Adam Theis.
WILLMAR -- Danny Anderson is known as the best golfer at Eagle Creek never to win the Match Play Tournament. Until now. Anderson held on to check two-time defending champion Andy Jacobson on the first playoff hole. "I did to him what he usually does to me -- make the big putts," said Anderson, who won the Club's Stroke Championship in July. The 18-hole final proved a terrific match. Anderson won four in a row starting at No. 6 to go 2-up at the turn. He went 3-up before Jacobson reeled off four in a row to go one up by one.
Two weeks ago, all seemed in place for Lori Hanson to become Willmar Senior High School's next activities director. She would be returning to the town where, as Lori Roufs, she was a three-sport standout. That set the stage for a basketball scholarship at North Dakota State where she played on four consecutive NCAA Division II championship teams, eventually landing her in the Bison Athletic Hall of Fame. She has taught and coached in Monticello for 12 years. Her husband Tim Hanson, also a 1992 WHS graduate, has taught and coached for 14 years.
WILLMAR -- The Ridgewater Warriors dipped to 2-7 in 2010, caught a wave and made a playoff appearance last year and this autumn will be looking to sail all the way to the state championship game. "I'm very pleased with the pre-season," said Rob Baumgarn, a former college linebacker starting his seventh season on the football rudder at the campus overlooking Foot Lake and the city beyond. "We've had no issues on or off the field. The players are willing to work and get coached up.
The Cardinal Pride Hall of Fame committee has selected Jeff Welker (WHS 1976) and Andrea Lentz (WHS '94) for inclusion at the 2012 induction. The banquet is set for Sept. 28 at the American Legion Post 167. Lentz and Welker will also be introduced at halftime of the Cardinal football game that evening. Welker competed in football, basketball and track and was the school's Male Athlete of the Year and Hengstler-Ranweiler nominee as a senior. Lentz excelled in cross country and track; she was the first Cardinal in cross country to medal at state (seventh in 1990).
SPICER -- After competing in sports at Crookston High School, Marcus Stromberg downshifted and became a self-confessed "couch potato" for the next dozen years. Four years ago he decided enough of that and took up, of all things, the triathlon. The 35-year-old, now living in Buffalo, picked up his fourth career win and second in a row at Green Lake on Sunday morning.
The USA Curling mixed doubles national tournament will be held at the Willmar Civic Center March 16-23 next year. The Mixed Nationals is one of the USCA's four major championships. Other national tournaments are slated for Green Bay, Fairbanks and Wayland, Mass. Pretty good company for a town of 20,000. Folks here will have the opportunity to watch highly-skilled curlers representing USCA's 10 regions. Each co-ed team has two male and two female players. Many are state champions and junior or senior national tournament participants.
Mark Wanner (WHS '78) lives in cowboy country but he has been on a horse only once (in a parade) since settling in Montana 30 years ago. But he does ride the range. He drives a specially outfitted fire truck to raging summer fires in the grasslands and foothills around Forsyth, where he teaches school the other nine months of the year.
Red Ahl got out of the Army in 1956 and moved from Bird Island to Willmar. He started racing stock cars at the half-mile track at the fairgrounds in Willmar. He raced in jalopies and late models through 1976. There was something about Red that made him one of the most popular drivers in the region. "Well, he won a lot," said his pitman Charlie Nelson with a chuckle. "And he was always nice. He'd always stay and sign autographs." He worked at his uncle's body shop and was a north-sider, the neighborhood surgically attached to the racetrack. Kids worshiped the smiling, lean red head.
Former Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg athlete Kevin Steinhaus of rural Pennock is spending the summer in the pews of an oversized van and in gymnasiums from coast to coast. The Minnesota Gophers wrestling captain was at the middle school in Willmar on Wednesday morning after spending the previous evening at Grove City at Spencer Lund's West Central Minnesota Wrestling Camp. His summer résumé reads like the refrain from the trucker's song "I've been everywhere, man, I've been everywhere." In May, he was in pre-fire Fort Collins, Colorado, attending the God-Life-Sports camp.